Australia

Regional News • World
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Sydney's Lowy Institute assessed the Covid-19 response of 98 countries on six different criteria – including cases, deaths and testing – and ranked New Zealand's response to the virus the best. The other countries that made the top 10 are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Mexico, Colombia and Iran and Brazil were in the bottom five, with Brazil being ranked at the bottom.

Law
Tse Chi Lop, the alleged Chinese-Canadian drug kingpin, is arrested in Amsterdam

One of the world's most-wanted fugitives, the 56-year old billionaire Tse Chi Lop, was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, police announced on Saturday. Tse Chi Lop is the alleged leader of a vast Asian drug syndicate responsible for up to 70% of all narcotics entering Australia.

He was arrested at the request of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) without incident during a stop-over on a flight from Taiwan to Canada.

Regional News • Oceania
Google threatens to shut down search in Australia if digital news code goes ahead
Google logo
Google logo Credit: Google

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia and Facebook has threatened to remove news from its feed for all Australian users if a code forcing the companies to negotiate payments to news media companies goes ahead.

The move would mean the 19 million Australians Google users would no longer be able to use Google Search.

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said the draft legislation "remains unworkable," and would be "breaking" the way millions of users searched for content online.

Regional News • Oceania
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Credit: Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Australian government's chief medical adviser, Brendan Murphy, has told ABC TV that lifting substantial border restrictions is not expected in 2021, despite an early start to the vaccination campaign. Australia's borders have been closed to travellers since March 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think that we'll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions – even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus," Professor Murphy said.

"And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time. One of the things about this virus is that the rule book has been made up as we go."

Sports
Andy Murray could miss Australian Open after positive Covid-19 test
Andy Murray could miss Australian Open after positive Covid-19 test
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Andy Murray

Andy Murray has tested positive for coronavirus before his flight to Melbourne to complete in the Australian Open. Murray is in good health, isolating at home and still hopeful of travelling to Australia.

Regional News • Oceania
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
Credit: unsplash/Fusion Medical Animation

Two travellers from the United Kingdom were found to be infected with the newly detected UK Covid-19 strain after arriving in New South Wales, Australia. The two individuals have been placed in hotel quarantine.

Climate & Environment
Report: November 2020 was the hottest on record, by a clear margin
Report: November 2020 was the hottest on record, by a clear margin
Credit: unsplash.com / Eelco Böhtlingk

The surface air temperature in this year's November was higher than any year before on record.

The temperature anomaly was the highest in much of Siberia, the Arctic Ocean and bordering coastal seas, extending into western and northern Alaska, the far north-west of Canada, the Tibetan Plateau and East Antarctica. Temperature records were also broken in parts of Europe and heatwaves were experienced in parts of Australia.

The average temperature from December 2019 to November 2020 is almost 1.3°C above the pre-industrial level defined in the IPCC Special Report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”.

Regional News • Oceania
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Credit: unsplash/Will Waters

New Zealand agreed Monday on a two-way travel bubble with Australia, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two nations in the first quarter of 2021.

“It is our intention to name a date ... in the New Year once remaining details are locked down,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington.

Climate & Environment
Ocean Panel countries commit to higher level of ocean protection
Manta Ray
Manta Ray Credit: Tchami (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

14 countries worldwide have committed themselves to the sustainable management of their national waters. The "Ocean Panel" is a body for sustainable marine management. A goal is it to place until 2030 a third of the seas under protection.

Involved are countries like Australia, Canada, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and Portugal. Together they have a marine area that is about the size of Africa.

Regional News • Oceania
Western Sydney man arrested after INTERPOL involvement

A 31-year-old Cambridge Park man will face Court today, 7 December 2020, after allegedly posting threatening and intimidating posts on social medial. NSW Police, acting on information received from INTERPOL also charged the man with possession of a replica assault rifles when members of the Nepean Police Area Command raided his address in the small Western Sydney suburb.

Police took possession of two AR-15 gel-blasters with ammunition which will be forensically examined. There is no suggestion they are linked to any other criminal activity at this time.

The man was formally charged with four counts of 'use carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence' and two counts of 'possess unauthorised firearm' at Penrith Police Station and will face Penrith Local Court later today after being granted bail on strict conditions.

Science • Space
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully lands capsule with asteroid samples
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully lands capsule with asteroid samples
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

According to the project manager for the asteroid mission, Dr Yuichi Tsuda, the capsule with asteroid samples has been successfully landed in Australia, and "the capsule collection was perfectly done". The samples will now be analyzed for research purposes in order to gather further information about our solar system.

Regional News • Oceania
One new COVID-19 case in Sydney after state 26 days virus-free
One new COVID-19 case in Sydney after state 26 days virus-free
Credit: unsplash.com / Road Trip with Raj

A hotel worker in Sydney has tested positive for coronavirus. She was employed by two hotels in Darling Harbour, one of which is a quarantine hotel for returned international travellers.

It is the first case of COVID-19 in the state for 26 days.

New South Wales Health is asking anyone who worked at the hotels on these dates to get tested and self-isolate.

It is unclear how other states will respond to the announcement, with New South Wales open to all states besides Western Australia, which was due to ease restrictions on the 8th of December.

Regional News • Oceania
Qantas lays off 2,000 more employees
Qantas lays off 2,000 more employees
Credit: Adam Moreira (AEMoreira042281) / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

All of Qantas' ground handling staff will be outsourced, laying off 2,000 employees to save the company more than $100 million a year.

Around 8,500 positions have been ditched by Qantas since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

The Transport Workers' Union criticized the move by Qantas, despite a bid by the 2,000 workers to keep their jobs.

“This is a dark day as Qantas management rejects a thorough and competitive bid by its highly skilled and dedicated workers to keep their own jobs,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

Regional News • Oceania
Records broken as heatwave sweeps Australia
Records broken as heatwave sweeps Australia
Credit: unsplash.com / April Pethybridge

Sydneysiders sweated through the past 24 hours - including last night, as the record was broken for hottest November night since 1967, staying above 25.4°C (77.2°F) all evening.

Temperatures yesterday reached 47.2°C (117°F) in Marree, South Australia. Every state across the country besides Tasmania passed 40°C (104°F).

Today, temperatures are forecast to reach up to 42°C (107.6°F) in parts of Sydney.

Regional News • Oceania
Victoria "eliminates" coronavirus after recording 28 days with no new cases
Victoria "eliminates" coronavirus after recording 28 days with no new cases
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Daniel Andrews

It has been 28 days since Victoria, Australia last recorded a local case of COVID-19 - classified by epidemiologists as the virus being eliminated.

"That is something all Victorians should be fundamentally proud of," said Premier Daniel Andrews, after the state's residents endured 112 days of lockdown.

The state also has no local cases currently.

At the peak of its second wave in August, Victoria was recording up to 687 cases a day.

Regional News • Oceania
Australian hostage Kylie Moore-Gilbert released from Iran prison
Australian hostage Kylie Moore-Gilbert released from Iran prison
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian who has been imprisoned in Iran for two years, has been freed.

She says she has nothing but love for the people of Iran.

Iranian authorities released Dr. Moore-Gilbert on Wednesday night in an alledged prisoner swap and is on her way back to Australia.

Regional News • Oceania
Queensland borders to open to NSW and Victoria from start of December
Queensland borders to open to NSW and Victoria from start of December
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland will open its borders to Victoria on December 1 after the state recorded 26 days with no new coronavirus cases, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today.

Ms Palaszczuk announced yesterday that Queensland would also open up to all of New South Wales on the same date.

No decision has been made about when Queensland will open borders to South Australia. Parts of the state were declared a hotspot following a coronavirus cluster outbreak last week.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Guns N' Roses announces Austrialia & New Zealand tour for November 2021
Guns N' Roses announces Austrialia & New Zealand tour for November 2021
Credit: Courtesy of Instagram

The US rock band Guns N' Roses plans to perform in a stadium tour in a year's time. In May, the group around the founding members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan had to cancel their European tour planned for early summer 2020 at short notice. Now they have announced a statium tour for Australia and New Zealand in November 2021. Tickets go on presale on November 23rd.

Regional News • Oceania
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcus Wallis

South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown from midnight on Wednesday night to prevent the further spread of a coronavirus cluster.

It's set to be the harshest lockdown implemented anywhere in Australia, with the closure of schools, universities, cafes, pubs, takeaway shops and restaurants.

The cluster originated at a hotel quarantine, with a worker spreading the virus to family members.

There have been 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state after Australia had recorded over a week with no local cases.

Business • Economy
New World's largest trades bloc created

15 countries have formed the world's largest trading bloc.

It is named 'RCEP', short for 'Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership'. The countries involved include 10 Southeastern Asian companies, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The long road to this point started back in 2012. The US was excluded from the deal after pulling out of a rival Asia-Pacific deal in 2017.

The deal was confirmed by each individual country signing copies of the trade agreement, and then showing it to a camera in a virtual ceremony.